Life Support for Birds, Butterflies, and Bees After the Texas Freeze
Severe snow and ice have brought Texans many unexpected challenges in 2021, but now that we’re on the upswing, we need to help some other Texas residents who were also affected: our local wildlife! Our poor birds, butterflies, and bees have had their food sources disappear. Nectar-rich flowers have gone kaput, and the remaining berries on our shrubs have been destroyed. If we work together to rejuvenate these food sources in our lawn and landscape, we can make a major positive difference for these vulnerable creatures!
Ways to Replenish Food Sources for Birds, Butterflies, and Bees
We love our local wildlife—not only are they beautiful, but they help maintain the ecological balance of our environment. Birds, butterflies, and bees all act as pollinators that help our gardens and farmlands flourish. Food is already more scarce in winter, and freezes threaten wildlife populations because many of the flowers and plants they depend on for nourishment have died back.
Putting out some extra bird feeders right now will be a huge help, but the squirrels may try to hog all the food! Buy a squirrel-proof feeder, or attach a slope to your existing feeders to make it harder for squirrels to access. Installing feeders on top of tall poles will also help keep the seeds out of reach of rodents. If you’re still finding that squirrels are getting greedy, you can use Sizzle N’ Heat birdseed that is coated with chili powder—birds can’t detect the spice, so they won’t mind, but the squirrels absolutely hate it!
Suet cakes are a great way to provide hearty nutrition for birds and squirrels. The high-fat content in suet cakes is especially helpful in winter for providing nutrient-dense nourishment, and there are so many different flavors to attract all different types of birds.
Hummingbirds sip nectar from flowers, so feeding them requires a special kind of food dispenser that holds liquid. The best hummingbird feeders are bright red; these little birds are drawn to this color. They access the nectar through little flower-shaped extensions on the base of the feeder, so they know exactly how to use them.
You can purchase liquid nectar for hummingbird feeders from our garden center in Houston—it’s safe, healthy, and free of unnecessary dyes. We’ve seen some gardeners take washed apple slices (with no trace of seeds or core), skewer them with a toothpick, and stick them into one of the flower dispensers so that passing birds can snack on the sweet, fibrous fruit.
Place Some Potted Flowers Around the Yard
Your garden flowers might be looking a little worse for wear, or they may be totally destroyed. Since your garden might be a bit slow to bloom after the extreme weather, the bees will be very grateful if you place some healthy, blooming flowers in containers around the yard. We have everything you need to spruce up your container gardens!
Make a Sugar Bowl for the Bees and Butterflies
Bees and butterflies need your help now more than ever! A sugar bowl is a great way to help our garden friends. Fill a shallow bowl with a sugar-water solution of 4 parts sugar to 1 part water and add some rocks that they can perch on to take a drink. You will be amazed how they are attracted to this mix!
If you need to pick up some birdseed, nectar, or squirrel-proof feeders, visit Plant for All Seasons! We care deeply about our local wildlife—especially our pollinators—and we want to do whatever we can to help all of Houston bounce back. If you have any more questions about bird care in Houston, swing by the store, and we’ll be happy to get you set up with everything you need.